1:3 You and Aaron are to number 1 all in Israel who can serve in the army, 2 those who are 3 twenty years old or older, 4 by their divisions. 5
1:18 and they assembled 6 the entire community together on the first day of the second month. 7 Then the people recorded their ancestry 8 by their clans and families, and the men who were twenty years old or older were listed 9 by name individually,
1:20 And they were as follows:
The descendants of Reuben, the firstborn son of Israel: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name individually.
1 tn The verb (פָּקַד, paqad) means “to visit, appoint, muster, number.” The word is a common one in scripture. It has as its basic meaning the idea of “determining the destiny” of someone, by appointing, mustering, or visiting. When God “visits,” it is a divine intervention for either blessing or cursing. Here it is the taking of a census for war (see G. André, Determining the Destiny [ConBOT], 16).
2 tn The construction uses the participle “going out” followed by the noun “army.” It describes everyone “going out in a military group,” meaning serving in the army. It was the duty of every able-bodied Israelite to serve in this “peoples” army. There were probably exemptions for the infirm or the crippled, but every male over twenty was chosen. For a discussion of warfare, see P. C. Craigie, The Problem of War in the Old Testament, and P. D. Miller, “The Divine Council and the Prophetic Call to War,” VT 18 (1968): 100-107.
3 tn The text simply has “from twenty years old and higher.”
4 tn Heb “and up.”
6 tn The verb is the Hiphil of the root קָהַל (qahal), meaning “to call, assemble”; the related noun is an “assembly.”
7 tc The LXX adds “of the second year.”
8 tn The verb is the Hitpael preterite form וַיִּתְיַלְדוּ (vayyityaldu). The cognate noun תּוֹלְדוֹת (tolÿdot) is the word that means “genealogies, family records, records of ancestry.” The root is יָלַד (yalad, “to bear, give birth to”). Here they were recording their family connections, and not, of course, producing children. The verbal stem seems to be both declarative and reflexive.
9 tn The verb is supplied. The Hebrew text simply has “in/with the number of names of those who are twenty years old and higher according to their skulls.”